Caché

Baseball fans around here still seemed shocked that the Giants lost that game to the Cubs.  I felt discouraged with the weather report for the next few days calling for rain.  I found it hard to concentrate on my work.  I watched “Caché,” which had a rather annoying first shot.  It indicates that we’re going to have to figure out what’s going on, and movies that are puzzles are hardly ever worth the effort.  The story has a television talk show host Georges and his wife Anne receiving videotapes showing that they’re being watched.  Georges’ behavior tends towards anger, and he’s definitely not a clear thinker.  We eventually see that he feels some guilt in the way he treated someone years before.  Anne is the calmer voice most of the time.  I thought Juliette Binoche did a very good job of acting in this film.  The story has a fascinating quality with a lot of tension, although Michael Haneke leaves a big too much up to the viewer to interpret.  Why doesn’t he stand for something instead of giving us all this ambiguity?  Georges goes out to confront the person he thinks is terrorizing him and his family.  The events bring to mind a bit of “Fatal Attraction.”  You don’t know what kind of crazy thing is going to happen.  We do get a rather shocking scene towards the end.  It certainly was a surprise to me.  I thought the character of Georges was memorable.  I have seen people like him in my life.  The final shot is brilliant according to some people, although to me it was unclear because I couldn’t see everyone.  There was a similar shot earlier in the film, but the only character I saw was the son.  The movie certainly kept my attention.  I thought one of the interesting things was how it showed the way a crisis was exposing the basic differences between the husband and wife.  There was no unity in this marriage.  The reminder of how quickly time passes was in the VHS tapes.  This stalker was using technology that was out of date.  I wished the movie was a bit less about arguments.  It makes points about guilt and how people deal with it, both on a collective, national level and on a personal level.  There is a suggestion that two of the characters have somehow conspired to make this whole thing happen.  If that it is true, then it was a foolish venture because of the end result.  This film is something like a “2001” for the twenty-first century because of all the audience discussion and interpretation of what really happened.  I found it not terribly rewarding to put a lot of thought into it.  Haneke wanted the audience to react that way, which actually seems to me like a superficial approach.  He leaves it up to you to do the work of interpretation, which is highly irritating.  It makes me question whether he really says anything substantial to say, and if he’s hiding behind his ambiguity and refusal to explain.  Great artists have more than just talent.  A lot of the speculation has been about the two sons and the swim coach and whether or not Anne was having an affair.  I’m not sure that you should apply logic to this movie because people’s perceptions are unreliable.  Majid seemed like the calmest character in the story.  Seeing a movie like this makes me think though Akira Kurosawa’s comment that good movies are easy to understand.  Roger Ebert said that he saw the movie three times before he caught something that led to his final opinion of it.  It seems to me that you shouldn’t have to watch a movie three times before coming to an understanding of it, because no movie is worth that kind of effort.  Roger, you were working too hard in some instances, and this is one of them.  There are certain pleasures in watching a movie like “Caché,” but I wouldn’t say that it is intellectually enriching or anything like that.  If I want to see something suspenseful, I would still rather turn to a Hitchcock film, even after all these years.  The other films from Haneke that I’ve seen are “The White Ribbon” and “Amour.”  Of those three, I think I would rather see “Amour” a second time.  Haneke is 74 years old now.  I wonder how much he has left in him as a filmmaker.  Some of the people who died on October 13 include Claudius (54 AD), Millard Mitchell (1953), and Ed Sullivan (1974).  Today is a birthday for Jerry Rice (54), Marie Osmond (57), Demond Wilson (70), and Paul Simon (75).

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